US airlines blocking middle seats cite their growing NPS scores

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Some US airlines are touting an increase in their net promoter scores (NPS), even as the COVID-19 pandemic has stalled demand and created even more uncertainty over the timing of a recovery.

NPS is essentially a measure of customer satisfaction that emerged in the early 2000s and is based on customers' responses to queries about the likelihood of a customer recommending a company to a friend or relative. Generally, an NPS of 50 or higher is viewed as a favourable result.   

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the operators whose NPS scores have risen have opted to continue blocking the middle seat onboard their aircraft. In fact, Southwest has said that it set a quarterly record for its score during 2Q2020. 

Additionally, a number of airlines with improving scores are also working to get their cash burn to break-even by the end of 2020, which remains an impressive goal, given unpredictable demand patterns and the onset of the typically weaker travel season. With those market dynamics, it also remains unpredictable whether positive customer sentiment could help those operators to reach their cash burn levels at an accelerated pace. 

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